The worldwide phenomenon, Pokémon, is receiving the next entry in its popular video game franchise, with Pokémon: Sword and Shield.
These two versions will be released simultaneously sometime this fall for the Nintendo Switch. The eighth-generation in the mainline series was announced during a Nintendo Direct on Feb. 27 and was revealed to the world as a first look into the long-awaited series entry. But what separates this game from the ones that have come before it and how will it shake up the series as a whole?
Resembling more or of a “core” entry rather than the recently released Pokémon: Let’s Go series, which are remakes of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow and integrated features from the widely popular mobile game, Pokémon Go, Pokémon: Sword and Shield will continue to the trend of “random encounters” with wild Pokémon rather than having them present overworld as well as being able to battle them, rather than using the Pokémon Go-based mechanics.
Speaking about the world, the new region players will be able to explore is the Galar region. Modeled after the United Kingdom, it contains a multitude of environments, such as urban inner cities, great plains and hills as well as snow-peaked mountains. Along with being designed in a more vertical fashion, the Galar region is bringing back the Gyms, an element the franchise is well known for. This was not the case for the previous game Pokémon: Sun and Moon, where the region of Alola had Trials.
The internet was struck ablaze when the game was announced, but the aspect that most fans focused on was the Pokémon. With three new starters to choose from, it could either be a simple choice or an impossible one, depending on your preference. Players can pick from the standard, grass, fire or water trio. Respectively, they are: Grookey, “a mischievous Chimp Pokémon that is full of boundless curiosity”; Scorbunny, “a Rabbit Pokémon that is always running about, bursting with energy”; and Sobble, “a somewhat timid Water Lizard Pokémon that shoots out attacks as it hides itself in the water.” Along with these starters, a variety of already introduced Pokémon can be seen like Pikachu, Wishiwashi, Hoothoot, Munchlax, Tyranitar and Lucario. This confirms that Pokémon from previous generations will be available in the game.
The game seems to be built from the same engine that the Pokémon: Let’s Go series was based on. In this case, it’s evident how the graphics aren’t just a scaled-up version of the 3DS Pokémon games—it was built with the Nintendo Switch in mind. While the game footage presented in the trailer was not final, it still gave audiences a look at some impressive detailing on things like structures, environments and outfits for the protagonist. This certainly seems like it could be the most graphically competent game in the franchise, despite not changing much with its aesthetic.
Something else that could change is the way in which the camera works in-game. This may be the first game in the series to have a fully-rotating camera. While it may have just been to emphasize the variety of environments in the game, a rotating shot of the protagonist can be viewed. This would certainly shake up the way the game is played, but it does seem unlikely as the “core” Pokémon series has been criticized for not changing much in terms of gameplay from generation to generation.
Pokémon: Sword and Shield is an exciting new step for Nintendo, as it’s bringing one of its flagship series to consoles in Fall 2019. Fans, new and old, across the globe are eagerly awaiting to dive right into the Galar region and start their quest to catch em’ all and become a Pokémon Master.